By Etop Ekanem

In recognition of its transformational impacts, including upskilling teachers and improving learning outcomes among pupils through the deployment of technology, the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board’s (LASUBEB) EKOEXCEL will on Friday, July 22, receive the Most Innovative Digital Learning Platform of the Year Award at the 18th Titans of Tech Awards.

The Titans of Tech Awards celebrates trailblazing innovators, individuals, organisations, governments and individuals who use ICT to improve lives in society. It also recognizes excellence and steadfast commitment to deploying ICT for positive interventions in Nigeria.

The organisers stated that EKOEXCEL would be recognised for its “efforts and excellent service in digitizing education for national development.”

The Award jury comprising top technology editors found that EKOEXCEL is preparing pupils for the 21st century through appropriate edutech platforms.

The jury noted: “In furtherance of efforts to build a truly digital economy and maintain its position as a leading market in Africa, is persistent in making critical investments in basic education required to produce the quality workforce needed for the future.

“The EKOEXCEL initiative is at the heart of the fresh project to introduce new training models to support and empower teachers, who are at the heart of every successful learning experience. The Initiative, a government-designed, funded and led programme introduced in all public primary schools in Lagos State, is already through curriculum development, changing the learning outcomes in schools across the state. With EKOEXCEL, Lagos is poised for the digital future.”

The 2022 awards holding at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, has ‘Leveraging Right Policies and Technologies in Taming Insecurity and Cyber-Threats’ as its theme. The Pan African Digital Initiative Summit and Expo will precede it.

Since its launch in 2019 by Governor BabajideSanwo-Olu, EKOEXCEL has continued to record tangible gains among teachers and pupils, leading to improved learning outcomes for pupils and more professional teachers.

Over 14,000 teachers from 1,011 public primary schools have been captured under the scheme. It has also enhanced the teacher-pupil interaction experience through technology (eLearning) in Lagos State primary schools.

EKOEXCEL has also significantly increased pupils’ learning outcomes and drastically reduced the number of out-of-school children in the state by enrolling them in schools through the ‘Leave No Child Behind’ policy.

Recently, a group of US academics led by Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor Michael Kremer also hailed the efficacy of the methodology of its technical partner, NewGlobe.

Kremer and his co-authors, including Guthrie Gray-Lobe, Anthony Keats, Isaac Mbiti and Owen Ozier, critically examined the benefits to student outcomes of a structured and standardized approach to teaching and learning in Kenya.

Its findings showed that primary students through Grade 8 gained almost an additional year of learning (0.89) under the NewGlobe integrated methodology, learning in two years what their peers learn in nearly three. For early childhood school students, the gains are even more significant. Those students supported by NewGlobe gained almost an additional year and half of learning, learning in two years what students in other schools learn in three and a half years.

Kremer said, “The study finds that if replicated at scale across public education systems, the gains would be enough to put African children from underserved communities on track to match their peers in countries with incomes three or four times higher. The study finds that after two years, primary school students in NewGlobe’s Kenya program are nearly a whole additional year ahead of children taught using traditional methods.

“For early childhood development – typically three and five-year-olds – children gain nearly an additional year and half of the learning; learning in two years what students in other schools learn in three and a half years.”

Kremer further noted that “this study shows that attending schools delivering highly standardized education has the potential to produce dramatic learning gains at scale, suggesting that policymakers may wish to explore the incorporation of standardization, including standardized lesson plans and teacher feedback and monitoring, in their systems.”

The same methodology adopted by LASUBEB is achieving a similar result as the EKOEXCEL 2020-2021 End line Fluency and Numeracy Evaluation showed that EKOEXCEL pupils are making remarkable progress in oral reading fluency and foundational numeracy compared to their last performance.

The recognition from the Titans of Tech Awards will be the latest for EKOEXCEL as four of its teachers received brand new SUVs and other prizes at the 2021 Annual Teachers’ Merit Award to reward excellence and diligence in teaching organized by the Lagos State Government.

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